Governor signs straight-ticket voting ban

Posted at 8:06 AM, Jan 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-06 08:06:43-05

Straight ticket voting is officially a thing of the past in Michigan. Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill banning it Tuesday morning, just hours before the deadline.

Snyder calls it a move toward modernizing elections and he's asking for another law to help out at the polls. In a statement he said, "it's time to choose people over politics. To alleviate concerns that this change could lead to longer wait times for voters, I'm asking the Legislature to enact secured no-reason absentee voting."

That would allow voters to use an absentee ballot without meeting current state guidelines.

Some voters say that's a better option.

"They don't want it to be a hassle," said Spencer Pioszak, who's glad straight-ticket is off the ballot. "They just want to go in, check the box and get it over with. I think it should be a lot more difficult of a decision than that."

Voters like Tyler Vansyckle agree, even though he says he's never voted straight-ticket.

"It was kind of a cop out. I think it's kind of irresponsible for people to not look at what they're voting on," Vansyckle said. "I've got an opinion on everything and if you don't I think you're just kind-of simplifying everything."

Democrats claim it's just a way to help Republicans on election day, because the majority of straight-ticket voters choose Democrats.

"It does nothing to improve education efforts, it does nothing to modernize our election system and it's just an attempt to manipulate the elections," said Sam Inglot, deputy communications director of Progress Michigan.

Inglot is concerned it could also slow things down at the polls.

"When voters don't have as many choices at the polling place and they're forced to go individually line-by-line, election-by-election to make a choice--that will just likely lead to longer lines at the polls," he added.

The last two times the legislature tried to ban straight-ticket voting it was overturned by voters in a referendum. That won't happen this time because lawmakers included $5 million in the bill to buy more voting booths and tabulators.

Republicans say this was in response to complaints from clerks that eliminating straight-ticket voting would lead to longer lines at the polls. The appropriation makes the bill referendum-proof.

Michigan is now the 41st state to ban straight-ticket voting.